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What is patriotism
February 12, 2003 11:56 PM   Subscribe

What is patriotism? Why is this war going ahead? One of a few questions being thrown around on War Debate, albeit not factual or profound. The site looks fairly new so you can post there to keep all the war jabber off MeFi.
posted by h0ney (18 comments total)

 
Nobody participates in war jibba-jabba (I pity the fool!) on MeFi for the thrill of the debate or for understanding, they do it because it's a fairly popular website and everyone will see that they're debating. More importantly, only one particular side of the issue is ever presented and celebrated here, so many come to Mefi to be agreed with. I would assume that in an evensided unpopular forum very few would be interested.
posted by Stan Chin at 12:12 AM on February 13, 2003


I see that www.warfilter.com is still available.
posted by sebas at 1:05 AM on February 13, 2003


they do it because it's a fairly popular website and everyone will see that they're debating
people are watching us?

posted by eddydamascene at 1:49 AM on February 13, 2003


Those that support the war claim they support our troops, yet they want to perilously risk the lives of those troops.

Those that oppose the war are accused of not supporting our troops, yet one of their reasons for their opposition is that they do not want to risk American lives.

] Just an observation from this veteran of the United States Marine Corps [
posted by mischief at 1:59 AM on February 13, 2003


Just an observation from this veteran of the United States Marine Corps

I knew it. Thank you sir, for your sacrifice and service.
posted by hama7 at 2:12 AM on February 13, 2003


***plays the bugle***
posted by crasspastor at 2:51 AM on February 13, 2003


*finds flash fun*

Here's Time to Bomb Saddam!
posted by hama7 at 4:15 AM on February 13, 2003


What is patriotism?

Love of country. What is country? In the US, I'd have to say that "country" is best defined by our Constitution.

Therefore, support for and participation in activities which are consistent with our Constitution (e.g. free speech/free press/open debate, peaceful protest, opposition to interference by religion in governance, defense of civil liberties, equal protection, private firearms ownership, etc.) are by definition patriotic activities.

Flag-burners who say our country can only suck and spread-eaglists who say our country can do no wrong both just don't get it, and in similar ways. A system as complex as a country can't hope to achieve perfection; it can only hope to approach optimality. In the case of a country the goal must be the optimization of domestic civil/human rights. The most patriotic thing most individuals can do is GET INVOLVED in the process of pushing their country ever closer toward that optimality.

So there.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:05 AM on February 13, 2003


Those that support the war claim they support our troops, yet they want to perilously risk the lives of those troops.

Those that oppose the war are accused of not supporting our troops, yet one of their reasons for their opposition is that they do not want to risk American lives.


Interesting "pro-life, anti-death" or "pro-choice, anti-choice" statement. How about this:

Those that support allowing tyrants like Saddam Hussein to actively support terrorist activities against the US, both from within and without, claim they are doing so on behalf of the innocent victims of an assault against Iraq, yet they want to perilously risk future terrorist attacks against American citizens.

Those that oppose Saddam Hussein and his support of terrorist activities are accused of war-mongering, yet one of their reasons for desiring action is that they do not want to risk American lives.

See how it works both ways? (maybe not on MetaFilter) If you're going to use an analogy, balance it.

Just an observation from this veteran of the United States Army.
posted by TheFarSeid at 6:28 AM on February 13, 2003


TheFarSeid -

"Those that support allowing tyrants like Saddam Hussein to actively support terrorist activities against the US" Do have any evidence other than the rather tenuous case the Bush administration has scraped together on this?

Most observers I have read - outside of the US, and even in recent writings of Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz - state that Iraq, Pakistan, and North Korea are either far more implicated in hosting terrorism or posess a far more credible "Weapons of Mass Destruction" threat than does Iraq.

The Pakistani ISI was heavily involved in the creation of the Taliban, and has even been linked to money wired to Mohammed Atta....at least hundreds of ISI fought alongside the Taliban during the US invasion of Afghanistan and, in one case (as reported by Seymour Hersch) were airlifted out, during which thousands of Taliban also escaped ("some dirt got through the sieve" remarked a military US official interviewed by Hersch about the incident)......Need I remind you that Pakistan has an active nuclear wapons program? Or that the actual axis of WMD "cross pollination" is between North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran? Or that it was in fact the US gave Iraq most of it's WMD capability?

Iran has been working to develop nuclear capability for years, while North Korea mow may posess ballistic missiles with enough range to hit the US west coast.

Japan has, the BBC just reported this morning, threatened a first strike on North Korea if it believes North Korea is threatening a missile launch........this is serious regional escalation, and the standoff between Pakistan and India over Kashmir - backed up by hair trigger 7 minute warning Nuclear missile forces - continues.... But, meanwhile....

The US obsesses over Iraq, and Iraqi 150 mile non-guided missile capability? Is this adminstration on drugs? Power has been called the best drug of all. Hmmmm......
posted by troutfishing at 7:05 AM on February 13, 2003


Stan Chin - (re: "...More importantly, only one particular side of the issue is ever presented and celebrated here, so many come to Mefi to be agreed with...")

Globally, there has been massive - and historically unprecedented worldwide protest of US plans for a unilateral invasion of Iraq. EU popular opinion - even in those nations whose governments support the US position - runs at least 75% against a US unilateral (non UN endorsed) invasion. Indonesia, China....similar majority opposition. Japan, South Korea? same profile. The list could go on and on. Much of the world outside of the cloistered world of managed public opinion in the US is opposed to the US position. Even in the US, public opinion is fairly evenly divided.

In this context, I think it would be fair to say that the "other side" of this issue is either fairly represented - and perhaps even overepresented on Mefi....

Face it - much of the world perceives the Bush adminstration efforts as a power grab - for resources, and as a showcase display of US military might to cow the world and beef up global sales of US weapons systems.

China has just joined the German/French/Belgian/Russian plan for an enhanced, military force supported, inspections regime in Iraq and an alternative to war.

The US, even while applying massive pressure on it's nominal allies, while offering substantial bribes ($14 billion to Turkey!) and while threatening economic penalties (tariffs on French wine) cannot achieve anything remotely resembling the international coalition assembled by George Bush Sr. before the first Gulf War.

In the opinion of the GW Bush administration, it seems, "Everybody else is wrong......"
posted by troutfishing at 7:24 AM on February 13, 2003


h0ney - do you think that all the "unseemly war jabber" about the possible looming deaths of thousands, maybe millions should be relegated to some safely distant ghetto so that unconcerned Mefi-ites can get back to their pleasant consideration of amusing lifestyle posts?

It is not for nothing that the Catholic Church has stated that a unilateral US invasion of Iraq will "open the gates of Hell..." Tensions across a wide swath - from the Middle East through to the Indo-Pak border and on to the Korean Penninsula and even Japan - are rapidly heating up.

You may think that you will not be effected if the US goes, unilaterally, into Iraq. Most of the rest of the world believes otherwise.
posted by troutfishing at 7:37 AM on February 13, 2003


No, I am just trying to respect the wishes of MeFi guidelines (see post page) and the overflow of war-related posts that sometimes get out of hand here, this is MetaFilter and it's just not about war, I do wan't to read about other things, doesn't mean I don't care.

I will dismiss your speculation also, "you *may* think?" What are you a mind-reader?
posted by h0ney at 8:26 AM on February 13, 2003


h0ney, OK, I'm sorry - I can't read your mind, and so that comment of mine was presumptious. But even though metafilter isn't about war, if you subtract political controversy from the mix, what have you? - titillating (for some) posts about troops of government sponsored women demonstrating breast enlargement techniques, galleries of regrettable food, Latest news of the hip -- "lite" fare which is sometimes fortified by bits of brilliant esoterica. Something like a "Smithsonian" magazine (if you've ever read it) for a hipper, more tech-savy audience.

I probably should have posted this comment as a thread on Metatalk, but I think your post straddles the "Metafilter" and "Metatalk" categories. So..........

If you've noticed, these Warposts come in waves. I should have saved my Thai breast enlargement post for today - it wasn't needed yesterday, and would provide some comic balance today. I've been itching to do a Warpost ever since I got slapped for that controversial post that made ParisParamus curse up a storm, but I've held off. Damn! . Yesterday's link-pack was more balanced. Today's? You'd be correct, in my book, to call it a bellicose, stampeding link herd. I guess I'll have to go and do a "non-trivial" but still a little titillating, certainly hip (or hop, I hope) "Non-Iraq/N.Korea/militarism" post. *scratches head*

I think that the reason that people feel the need to keep at the War posts is that they feel the potential of a US unilateral invasion of Iraq could provoke a worldwide conflagration at worst and, at best multiply the ranks of terrorists seeking to attack the US and it's civilians a hundred fold, while leaving the US with a decade long, potentially nasty garrison duty in occupied Iraq.

In other words, the perceived stakes are very, very high and, unfortunately, what is ultimately driving the intensity over this are grievances on the part of some about the controversial 200 election and, far all, the all-too-fresh trauma of 9-11 which is deeply embedded in the national psyche. I'd say that the cultural and the political -- arguably long kept separate in the minds of many Americans -- have begun to reconnect. I would not go so far as to say that now "everything is political", but the trend is certainly in that direction.

I'd guess that a segment of Mefi-ites has become much more politicized by the events of the last several years.
As a thought-experiment, consider: what if Americans, to the last, suddenly began talking about nothing but politics and the push for War? Should Mefi then reflect this?
posted by troutfishing at 10:00 AM on February 13, 2003


*finds flash fun*

Here's some more: Gulf War 2

at least hundreds of ISI fought alongside the Taliban during the US invasion of Afghanistan and, in one case (as reported by Seymour Hersch) were airlifted out, during which thousands of Taliban also escaped ("some dirt got through the sieve" remarked a military US official interviewed by Hersch about the incident)

Here's the article on the airlift.
posted by homunculus at 10:31 AM on February 13, 2003


"Patriotism means you don't ask questions"

No, in the U.S. patriotism mandates that you ask questions, regardless of what the current administration thinks. In the U.S. being a patriot means following and honoring the Constitution, end of story. Other than that I, or no other person in the U.S., owes no allegiance to a particular administration, lifestyle, dogma or heritage. This is what I love about the U.S.; the ideal is wonderful. However, the shortcomings are disastrous. I fell that seeking the ideal and suffering the shortcomings is better that not trying at all and excepting a lessor outcome. As for war, I owe no allegiance to our army and/or command-in-chief, the burden is on my government to prove that such a war squares with my constitutional beliefs and is necessary for the protection of those beliefs. So far, Bush and Blair have failed.
posted by Bag Man at 12:32 PM on February 13, 2003


In other words, the perceived stakes are very, very high... I'd guess that a segment of Mefi-ites has become much more politicized by the events of the last several years.

Yes, the stakes are high, and I imagine most of us care deeply about current events. I certainly do. But I don't post about them on my blog, because I don't think that's what people come to Languagehat for; in fact, I suspect many of them come specifically to read about stuff that has nothing to do with the coming war or stolen elections and vanishing liberties. Not that the situation is the same with MeFi, but I hope you'll grant the principle that just because people don't want it to become WarFilter doesn't mean they don't care.
posted by languagehat at 1:45 PM on February 13, 2003


Languagehat - sure, but is it really so black and white?

But...not to worry.... "Warfilter" will soon morph into other things like "Terrorfilter" or "MartialLawfilter". At that point, of course, Metalfilter can purify and recast itself as "Diversionfilter"....
posted by troutfishing at 8:30 PM on February 13, 2003


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